The 30th anniversary of a fantasy classic from Peter S. Beagle!
The unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone. She was very old, though she did not know it, and she was no longer the careless color of sea foam but rather the color of snow falling on a moonlit night. But her eyes were still clear and unwearied, and she still moved like a shadow on the sea.
The unicorn discovers that she is the last unicorn in the world, and sets off to find the others. She meets Schmendrick the Magician--whose magic seldom works, and never as he intended--when he rescues her from Mommy Fortuna's Midnight Carnival, where only some of the mythical beasts displayed are illusions. They are joined by Molly Grue, who believes in legends despite her experiences with a Robin Hood wannabe and his unmerry men. Ahead wait King Haggard and his Red Bull, who banished unicorns from the land.
This is a book no fantasy reader should miss; Beagle argues brilliantly the need for magic in our lives and the folly of forgetting to dream. --Nona Vero
The charakters are simple and yet each serves a purpose. Each is distinct and well-drawn, from the amusing Smendrick and the strong Molly the tragic Unicorn and the wrecked king Haggard. And even though you instantly "see" each character, they are all more than what they apear to be. All of them seem to have that second layer wich makes them deeper and more meaningul. They are both simple and many-layered. And all of them are tragic, and yet filled with hope.
The story is written in a language full of delightful images, with so musical lines its almost like poetry from time to time. I've never read anything quite like this book, and that is saying a lot. Scenes and sentenses keep popping back into my head, even when I'm thinking about something quite unrelated.
But the thing that really sets this book apart is that even though it is wonderfuly inreal, it feels true. It feels though the world of the unicorn is more true than the real world. It almost hurts to go back.
Go on. Buy this book. Spend a few hours in a magical dream-land. We all need some enchantment in our lives.
But when one day she overhears two hunters arguing about the existence, or not, of her kind, she starts wondering if she's indeed the last unicorn, and sets off on a quest to find others like her. Nobody believes in fairy tales anymore and everyone she meets thinks she's nothing more than a white mare. Even Mommy Fortuna, who captures her one night while she's indiscreetly sleeping on the edge of a wood, and puts her in a cage to entertain and impress customers of her Midnight Carnival, alongside other animals that the witch turns into various illusory mythical beasts. Hopefully, one of Fortuna's assistants, Schmendrick the wannabe magician, recognizes the unicorn for what she really is. He releases her, and travelling together, meeting a new companion called Molly Grue on the way, they make for King Haggard's cursed castle. There lives the terrible Red Bull, the blind, devilish creature responsible for the disappearance of the unicorns, or so they've heard.
The Last Unicorn is a real fairy tale, where everything seems to happen in a kind of ethereal, parallel reality. Beagle’s style is such that every place, every character, and every action that takes place is hard to focus on, as if it were a dream that you're trying to remember. And on the other hand, it approaches very real themes, ones you can relate to, such as finding who you are and what you want to be, or making the right choices and compromises in your life... I won't say I understood it all, but I was charmed by this deep, very poetic, and sad tale of love and magic, good and evil, by this quest for seasons of candor, when we believe in fairy tales and legendary creatures.